House Passes Early Retirement Incentive Program; Will Achieve Cost Savings for FY16 Budget

(BOSTON) – Representative Benson (D-Lunenburg) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives this week to pass legislation that creates an early retirement incentive program (ERIP) for Group 1 employees in the Office of Governor and Executive Branch.

The program was originally proposed as part of Governor Baker’s FY16 budget and was taken up separately so that associated savings can be included in the House’s budget, which will be released next month.

“On Wednesday, I joined my colleagues in the House in passing an early retirement incentive program (ERIP), which will provide significant savings in the FY16 budget,” said Representative Benson. “This legislation includes important protections, such as setting a cap on backfilling positions, that will help ensure anticipated savings are realized.  By taking up this bill ahead of the House budget debate, we will be able to use the projected savings from this program towards essential line items.”

The program is anticipated to achieve $172.9 million in net savings. The legislation contains numerous provisions that will help ensure the projected savings are realized including a cap on backfilling positions. Spending for backfilled positions is limited to 20 percent of the annualized compensation that would have been paid out over the next two fiscal years for that role. Eligible employees must apply for ERIP no later than July 15, 2015 with an official retirement date of July 31, 2015.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

House Authorizes $200 Million in Chapter 90 Funds for Local Infrastructure Projects

(BOSTON) – Representative Jennifer Benson (D-LUNENBURG) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives this week to authorize $200 million for local road and bridge repairs, passing legislation before April 1st so that municipalities can take full advantage of the construction season.

Chapter 90 funds may be used for roadway projects, such as resurfacing, drainage, sidewalks, traffic control and lighting, or road building machinery, equipment and tools.

“As the Legislature reviews the Governor’s FY16 budget recommendations and we approach the House budget debates, this early action legislation is a reminder that local aid continues to be a top priority in the House,” said Representative Benson. “The $20 Million allocation will allow for municipalities to take advantage of the construction season, and start addressing necessary roadway projects after a harsh winter.”

This legislation follows the release of $100 million in Chapter 90 funds by Governor Baker which had been previously allocated by the Legislature but not yet approved.

The Chapter 90 formula takes miles of road, population and employment statistics into consideration. Under this allocation level the 37th Middlesex District would receive $2,169,543.

The bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators Meets with Governor Baker & Lt. Governor Polito

Rep. Benson has recently been named a Co-Vice Chair of the Mass. Caucus of Women Legislators for the 189th General Session, and today was able to advocate for important issues that affect women across the Commonwealth. The Caucus leadership team met with Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito today where they discussed the Caucus’ legislative priorities and plans for the 189th session.

Thank you Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito for meeting with myself, Sen. Gobi (Co-Chair), and Sen. Dorcena Forry today.

Thank you Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito for meeting with me, Sen. Gobi (Co-Chair), and Sen. Dorcena Forry today.

Benson Recognized as Champion of After School Programs by the Mass Alliance of Boys And Girls Clubs

BOSTON — On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, Representative Jennifer Benson (37th Middlesex) was a guest speaker at the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs’ Annual Luncheon at the State House.

“I was honored to be included in the MA Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs’ speaking program. As an individual who did not have opportunities like the Boys & Girls Clubs, a former School Committee member, and a co-chair of the ASOST Council, I know the importance and value of quality after school and out-of-school programs for children of all ages across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Benson. “Investing in quality after-school programs is not just important for working families, but it will have a trickle-down effect on the state as a whole.  The amount of my colleagues present at the luncheon today speaks to the importance of this issue on Beacon Hill, and our commitment to our youth.  I look forward to continue advocating for quality after school and summer programs for all children.”

Representative Jennifer Benson was invited as a guest speaker to the Annual Luncheon to discuss her advocacy for after school and out-of-school programs for youth of all ages in the Commonwealth.  Representative Benson serves as a Co-Chair of the MA Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council (ASOST) with Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn).

The Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs is a consortium of 41 Boys & Girls Club corporations that operate throughout the state of Massachusetts.  The Alliance was formed a decade ago for the purpose of seeking and sharing financial and program opportunities to help better serve the children of our Commonwealth. Boys & Girls Clubs in Massachusetts provide programs and services run by adult staff who are trained youth professionals and whose mission in life is to help grow and guide our next generation of adult leaders. Club activities promote and enhance the development of our children by continually instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence. All of our clubs in Massachusetts offer a safe place to learn and grow – all while having fun.

Representative Benson to Serve as a Co-Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators

BOSTON – State Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) announced that she will serve as a Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators Co-Vice Chair with Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Dorchester) for the 2015-2016 legislative session. Representative Benson and Senator Forry will be joining the leadership of Chairs Senator Anne Gobi and Representative Gloria Fox.

“I am honored to serve as Co-Vice Chair with Senator Forry over the course of the 2015-2016 legislative session. The Caucus of Women Legislators provides valuable insight and discussion on issues that women and their families face every day,” said Representative Benson. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my colleagues as we work towards accomplishing the Caucus’ mission to enhance the economic status and equality of women, as well as to encourage and support women in all levels of government.”

Established in 1975, the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators was formed with a mission to enhance the economic status and equality of women and to encourage and support women in all levels of government. It is a bi-partisan organization comprised of the women State Senators and State Representatives. There are currently 50 women legislators that make up 25% of the Massachusetts legislature. Throughout the history of the Commonwealth, only 189 women have served as elected officials in the legislature compared to over 20,000 men.

Representative Benson Named Chair of Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee

BOSTON, MA – State Representative Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg) has been named to serve as the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure for the 2015-2016 legislative session.

“I am honored to serve as the House Chair of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.  We must continue to focus on growing and strengthening the Commonwealth’s economy while still protecting the rights of consumers” said Representative Benson. “I look forward to working on these key issues with my colleagues on the Committee and serving the best interests of our constituents.”

The Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure is responsible for considering all matters concerning consumer credit, consumer protection, the issuance of licenses for the sale of alcoholic beverages, the registration of various trades or professions, and such other matters as may be referred.